Redevelopment plans for the 700-acre Fabyan Parkway/Settler's Hill campus received the first nod of approval from a Kane County Forest Preserve District committee Thursday. The approval signals a possible end to the planning and a move toward bringing the vision to life in coming months.
That next big step won't happen until after the November elections when nearly half the Kane County Board and forest preserve commission is guaranteed to have new people in place. When that happens, it's possible lingering calls to remove the eastern portion of Fabyan Woods from the plan might be met by some with a common interest.
Commissioners spoke publicly Thursday about why keeping the woods in the plan is a good idea.
"It's been a suggestion that the forest preserve has neglected those woods, or we haven't done what we should to maintain the woods," Forest Preserve President John Hoscheit said. "If the goal is to restore these woods or do better work to help preserve the woods, if we keep them in the plan it gives us a funding source."
Hoscheit was referring to the forest preserve district gaining access to the county's enterprise fund for the landfill. That fund contains money that can only be used for the re-purposing of the old Settler's Hill landfill. Hoscheit believes the Fabyan Woods would become eligible for some of that cash, but only if it remains part of the redevelopment of Settler's Hill.
What hasn't been made clear is exactly what will happen to Fabyan Woods if it is left in the plan and money for its maintenance becomes available. Commissioner Bonnie Kunkel said some residents are experiencing angst regarding the future of Fabyan Woods.
"I think that really what the public has been saying is take the woods out of the plan and keep your hands off destroying our woods," Kunkel said. "They are not saying ignore our woods."
To that end, forest preserve staff members plan to host a public meeting in October to reveal a plan they've already created to restore the woods based on several years of botany study already conducted in Fabyan Woods. The long-range plan for the woods -- and opportunities to join the volunteer group to help implement the plan -- will also be discussed at the meeting. A date and location for the meeting have not been announced.